On November 1, 2016, FERC rejected arguments raised by numerous intervenors (“Environmental Intervenors”) that FERC had too narrowly defined its jurisdiction over Trans-Pecos Pipeline, LLC’s (“Trans-Pecos”) Presidio Border Crossing Project (the “Project”) and interconnecting intrastate pipeline (the “Trans-Pecos Pipeline”), which resulted in an abbreviated environmental review that failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (“NEPA”). In doing so, FERC found that the Trans-Pecos Pipeline will be an intrastate pipeline receiving natural gas produced solely in Texas, and thus environmental review of the construction and operation of the pipeline is not subject to FERC’s Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) Section 7 jurisdiction.
Continue Reading FERC Rejects Arguments that Environmental Review of Presidio Border Crossing Project Failed to Consider Related Intrastate Pipeline

On October 1, 2015 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) adopted a more stringent air quality standard for ground-level ozone emissions that reduces the national standard from 75 parts per billion (“ppb”) to 70 ppb. By promulgating a new ozone standard, EPA says it aims to reduce smog from ground-level emission sources, including power plants, smoke stacks, and automobiles. In conjunction with the new standard, EPA also issued an “Implementation Memo,” which outlines the agency’s plans for addressing various implementation issues under the new standard.
Continue Reading EPA Modifies Air Quality Standards for Ozone

On September 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) announced that the sage-grouse would not be listed under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) – a particularly significant decision for wind development in the Western United States.
Continue Reading U.S. Department of Interior Denies Sage-Grouse Endangered Species Act Protection

On May 15, 2015, the FERC commissioners sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) addressing two areas where FERC could contribute to maintaining reliability under EPA’s Clean Power Plan (“CPP”).  FERC’s letter was in response to EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe’s May 6, 2015 letter to FERC regarding FERC’s role in the CPP and the steps the two agencies have already pursued thus far.
Continue Reading FERC Offers EPA Advice on Commission’s Potential Role in Clean Power Plan

On March 19, 2015, the White House issued an executive order directing federal agencies to reduce their direct greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions by at least 40 percent from 2008 levels by 2025 (“Executive Order”).  The Executive Order also directs federal agencies to increase the use of renewable energy by its buildings by at least 30 percent by 2025.  According to the Executive Order, agencies must begin complying with the various reductions and mandates in fiscal year 2016.
Continue Reading President Signs Executive Order Mandating GHG Reductions for the Federal Government

On June 2, 2014, as directed by President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Gina McCarthy signed EPA’s proposed emission guidelines for existing electric utility generating units, which EPA has dubbed the “Clean Power Plan.”  The proposal sets state-specific, rate-based goals.  According to EPA, this proposal will help reduce carbon emissions from the power sector 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.
Continue Reading EPA Proposes Emission Reduction Rules for Existing Power Plants

On April 29, 2014, the United States Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) reversed and remanded the D.C. Circuit’s 2012 decision that vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (“CSAPR”).  The decision was 6-2 with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting.  Justice Samuel Alito recused himself from this case and therefore did not participate in the decision.
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Upholds CSAPR

On April 15, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) fully upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (“MATS”). As a result, all existing coal- and oil-fired electric utility units will be required to meet specific, numeric emission limits for mercury, particulate matter, and acid gases next year.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds MATS Rule

On June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama released a sweeping climate plan (“Plan”) using his authority to both address greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions and to prepare for the impacts of climate change.  The plan, which consists of a wide variety of executive actions, has three key pillars: (1) cut carbon pollution in America; (2) prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change; and (3) lead international efforts to combat global climate change.
Continue Reading President Obama Announces Climate Action Plan

On June 24, 2013, the Supreme Court granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) and environmental groups’ Petitions for Writs of Certiorari requesting review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s (“D.C. Circuit”) vacatur of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (“CSAPR”).
Continue Reading Supreme Court Agrees to Review D.C. Circuit’s CSAPR Vacatur